2354 Tasting Notes
I really need to go to bed early tonight… I actually fell asleep in yoga tonight :\ So I pulled out a couple herbal teabags and re-steeped my Creme Brulee from last night. Funnily enough, I pulled out two teabags of similar blends from different companies, so I get to do a bit of a comparison.
This one is courtesy of LiberTEAS – thank you!
Steeped, it smells quite delicious and berry-like! I’m pleasantly surprised! Since I left the teabag in for eons, the hibiscus is definitely present, but I like it. The berry flavour is quite apparent and the hibiscus is providing tartness but at a completely acceptable level. The strangest thing is the sweetness I’m getting, which makes me think licorice as it’s late-sip, but I don’t think it is. Maybe there’s stevia or something in here, though? The aftertaste kind of makes it taste like a fakey candy, whereas initially it’s an authentic berry flavour.
Really quite a good bagged tisane with pretty good use of hibiscus. Were it not for the strange sweetness, I’d probably look into picking some of this up to ice it.
Mmmmm, sweet and only lightly tasting of rooibos, which works well. Perhaps not quite creme brulee though, to be honest – it just tastes kind of caramelly. Which is ok with me. I definitely seem to lean more towards artificially sweetened creamy/sweet/caramelly rooibos blends (e.g. Birthday Cake, Alpine Punch) than fruit-flavoured ones.
Anyhow, dropping the rating a few points on this one simply because it was one of my first-rated teas, and compared to other rooibos, it’s not at the top, and I had it rated rather high. Big plus for it, however, is a lack of little candies floating around in it that make the tea scummy.
Trying the last of my original sample tonight in a western-gong-fu sort of style (e.g. 15 second infusions). I used about 4g of leaf in my little glass teapot, and filled it halfway with ~205F water each time (so maybe about 5oz.?) Some of the infusions crept to closer to 20 seconds.
1: Woah, so sweet! A little toasty and nutty, but a delicious sweetness, and an oolong aftertaste that takes a while to show up but is perfect. This is amazing, seriously. Only marred by the aftertaste of ginger/galangal still on my palate after the Spiced Elderberry Pu’er (whoops).
2: Lost some of the sweetness now and is more grounded. It’s getting to that woody flavour that I find with oolongs, but it’s taken a sidestep off the beaten path as there are some fruitier, rounder notes in here too. I suck at descriptions. Lovely though.
3: Oh crap. Got an initial flavour of soap in this one, and it’s somewhat stronger (pot sat with wet leaves between 2 and 3). I’m wondering if the cup wasn’t well rinsed. Argh. Second sip not so soapy, but I’d blame the cup, not the tea. There’s some astringency coming out here, perhaps because the leaves sat. Maybe I need to reduce the infusion time after the leaves have been sitting (it was only for maybe 5-10 minutes, but still). I’m getting fruity notes now that I seem to have washed the soap off the rim of the cup by drinking it (blech). Still strong and woody-ish, but quite good. Just wish that astringency wasn’t there.
4: Back to reduced astringency (although still present a bit – I think these last two infusions were also closer to 20s, so maybe I need to watch that I keep the time to 15). Moving ever-more towards that woody profile.
(I might continue and update later, but stomach getting full and my mouth is revolting against the astringency).
It seems that, by contrast to a lot of other people on here, I tend to enjoy the first infusion quite a bit more than subsequent infusions (in most teas, including greens and oolongs). I don’t know if that’s because they tend to be sweeter and less astringent, or I just prefer the initial flavours, but I guess that’s just the way it’s going to be! Glad my Huang Zhi Xiang experimentation is finally working out, and thank you SO much to David Duckler for supplying me with some extra leaves so I can give it another couple attempts!
When I pulled the brew basket out of the water, I smelled such an interesting aroma. Definitely reminded of thai food, which is probably the ginger/galangal.
Although I rinsed it kinda twice, I just ran water through the infuser basket, and am not sure this is appropriate. I still haven’t looked up how to rinse a tea properly. Anyhow, I’m getting a bit of a fishy smell from it. Which oddly works with the ginger/galangal, but is weird to smell from tea. Hopefully I haven’t ruined it by a lack of rinsing!
Tasty and spicy, I can taste both the ginger and galangal, but neither is overwhelming – I have to say that this is probably the best use of ginger in a tea I’ve ever encountered. There’s also a berry note, which must be elderberry. A lingering savoury flavour remains on the tongue after one swallows, which is quite nice. I can’t pick out the pu’er in here, but it’s obviously tying everything together. Once I have a better idea of what straight pu’er tastes like I might be able to say a bit more as to that aspect.
Overall, I’m finding this to be a very savoury, interesting tea. The spicing is very well done, with everything blending together perfectly and nothing sticking out or overwhelming the rest. Definitely would help with a craving for thai food, imo. Probably not something I’ll keep in stock, but a fabulous tea to have tried!
ETA: Second infusion (same parameters): A little weaker perhaps, but the spices are all present and I can pick up the pu’er now (possibly because of a bit of an oversteep – it may have had more like 3.5-4 minutes as I got confused when the timer went off and thought I had water in the microwave… yeaahhhh). Still smells a little fishy, but it doesn’t carry over to the flavour. Just makes me think of fish sauce here though (as I said above, it works with this flavour combo).
Mmm, a tasty toasty, roasty oolong with nice roasted oolong aftertaste. Light aroma, good flavour. I definitely would drink this one again, although it’s nothing particularly special.
Going to give more infusions a shot in a few minutes :)
Woah! Second infusion at a random temperature for waaaay too long is actually really good! No bitterness at all! Really impressed! Bet it can last another few.
Thanks for the sample, Azzrian!
Hmmm, ok. This isn’t bad, but it’s not as awesome as I was expecting. Reminds me of some of the flavoured greens from DavidsTea (I can’t recall specifically which ones). Nothing particularly special though.
Second infusion similar. Oh well, that’s ok! Thanks for the sample, Azzrian!
Ok, used maybe a bit more than 2 tsp, and I think I’m getting a lot more aroma, so hopefully that translates into a lot more flavour!
Well, there’s more flavour, but I think I oversteeped it – there’s a touch of bitterness coming out. It’s creamy and I can taste a bit of green tea, and maaaaybe pistachios?? It looks like I must just be one of the people that finds this tea ok, not great. Oh well!!
Second infusion – I’m an idiot and left it for 8 minutes, but I’m actually getting some more flavour here! It’s not particularly bitter or anything…. oh whoops, I drank it all. Well, there was a nice green tea flavour too, but I can’t remember the rest! Good, though.
Thanks again to Azzrian for this sample :D
So my new roommate moved in yesterday, but I was in the lab until 1:30am dealing with samples, so only got to meet her this evening (since I then slept until 5pm, haha). Of course, she came in to find me sitting at the dining room table watching ‘How I Met Your Mother’ with no less than 5 cups of tea :D Naturally, she asked whether I like tea…. :P Apparently her and her friend had been at the mall today and stopped in at DavidsTea (although they are mostly teabag girls, not looseleaf), and she told me that they were offered a sample. Curious as to what they drank, I asked and she told me it tasted like a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie. The only DT I know of with macadamia nuts is Mulberry Magic, but that didn’t sound right… however I looked up DT’s Tea of the Day and sure enough, one was Mulberry Magic! Naturally I then started craving it like crazy, so here we are. I’m not certain I get ‘white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie’, but it’s pretty darn good. And because this one never goes bitter, it’s no-fail for me. So much love. Upping the rating because I love drinking this one :D
Accompanying notes for my comparison of Earl of Lemon with 52teas’ Ginger Ale Bai Mu Dan.
This tea is definitely stronger than Ginger Ale Bai Mu Dan, and I don’t think that’s because I used more tea. The bergamot is sharper, and I can taste the twinge of lemon. Both have a lovely sweet creaminess though. It might be a touch more apparent in this one due to the inclusion of yogurt. There is a lovely aftertaste of white tea with both too, though.
As stated in my Ginger Ale Bai Mu Dan review, these are too similar (even though distinctly different) for me to really make a choice. I’d be happy with either in my cupboard, but since Earl of Lemon’s currently easier to obtain, it will be the winner by, say, 1/4 point.
ETA: I think this one accidently got a 15-minute re-steep because someone set a count-up not a count-down timer (me). So I was getting a little too much sharpness from the bergamot, or bitterness from something, although there was a nice lingering creaminess.
Time to compare this one to DavidsTea’s Earl of Lemon, and see if they’re really interchangeable, or whether I need to act fast and get a pack of this from 52teas immediately!
Tastes sweet and lightly of bergamot. Still not really getting the ginger. This is definitely mellower than Earl of Lemon, which is nice. But although the two are different, I really don’t know which one I like better! They both taste to me like white earl greys, and dare I say it, are equally good?? This one’s almost a bit too light for me, but I would attribute that to using too little leaf in order to conserve it (I have enough for one more cup, hurrah!)
I guess the question of which is better remains unsolved. Maybe I’ll try this experiment once more, another time when I haven’t had a ton of ginger and garlic, but I suspect I’ll be similarly undecided then too, which may mean I go with Earl of Lemon as I think it’s still available on the tea wall at DavidsTea.
ETA: Did well on the re-steep. Still less creaminess and a more mellow flavour than Earl of Lemon; still undecided as to the better tea.